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Friday, 11 December 2009

More gay Africans seek asylum in France

Source: Behind the mask

By Jerina Messie (BTM French reporter)

The number of successful applications for gay asylum seekers in France is about 15% above average of successful applications in the general population but, an organisation in the country that helps persecuted people with asylum, says it processes about 30 application per year without absolute certitude.

Association pour la Reconnaissance des Droits des personnes Homosexuelles et transsexuelles à l’Immigration et au Séjour (ARDHIS) says it is difficult to know whether the person who claims to be gay really is.

“We can have some doubts but without being certain. The most important thing for now is that what the person says is in accordance with the sexual orientation he or she claims is his or hers.”

It is for this reason that immigration services in different countries have tightened the requirements for processing asylum applications.

According to the French Home Affairs Department’s website, asylum seekers should provide proof (extract of penal code, press articles or rapport from NGO’s) and give accurate and very detailed accounts of the persecussions, violence discriminations or threats received when they apply for asylum in the country.

Applicants must also prove that the persecutions are individualised and if the persecutor is an individual or member of a group of individuals and not the state, individual applicants must prove that they could not benefit from the protection of authorities and that the authorities are accomplices with the persecutor.

For ARDHIS this is where LGBTI solidarity and support of an organization is necessary.

“We can contact an LGBTI organization, if any, in the country of origin and ask them to provide us with relevant facts about the situation of LGBTI people in the country”, ARDHIS said explaining its role.

It added that asylum seeker applications stand a better chance of being successful if applicants apply as part of organisations instead of applying as just individuals.
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